Friday, July 29, 2011
EVOL, a German artist, excavated a miniature cityscape gouged into an idyllic meadow near Hamburg. Viewers thunder down the mini-scale street-trenches of his X-shaped city block, towering over the rooftops.
Usually I prefer to work on site by interfering with already existing structures. As I came there first, that’s what I found: endless meadow, trees and blue sky. Not exactly what I play with usually. So I decided to cut open the idyll, and pretend there is no endless meadow, but only rooftop-gardens of the disgust underneath … 8 exhausting days of hard work (at least for people who usually cut paper only).
(via This is Colossal)
Nisha Sondhe’s photos from Mumbai and New York compare like-for-like scenes of life in crowded, exuberant urban centers — trains and fishmongers and butchers and happy people — and captures each city’s distinctiveness as well as the universal character of urban life.
House Committee passes bill requiring your ISP to spy on every click and keystroke you make online and retain for 12 months
Yesterday, the House Judiciary Committee voted 19-10 for H.R. 1981, a data-retention bill that will require your ISP to spy on everything you do online and save records of it for 12 months. California Rep Zoe Lofgren, one of the Democrats who opposed the bill, called it a “data bank of every digital act by every American” that would “let us find out where every single American visited Web sites.” Here’s commentary from the Electronic Frontier Foundation, who’ve got a form for contacting your rep to ask her or him to kill this:
The data retention mandate in this bill would treat every Internet user like a criminal and threaten the online privacy and free speech rights of every American, as lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have recognized. Requiring Internet companies to redesign and reconfigure their systems to facilitate government surveillance of Americans’ expressive activities is simply un-American. Such a scheme would be as objectionable to our Founders as the requiring of licenses for printing presses or the banning of anonymous pamphlets. Today’s vote is therefore very disappointing, but we are especially thankful to GOP Representatives Sensenbrenner, Issa and Chaffetz, who chose principle over party-line in opposing this dangerous tech mandate. We hope that bipartisan opposition will grow as the bill makes its way to the House floor and more lawmakers are educated about this anti-privacy, anti-free speech, anti-innovation proposal.
Thursday, July 28, 2011
Bioartist Jae Rhim Lee is systematically training fungi to feast on her “body tissue and excretions–skin, hair, nails, blood, bone, fat, tears, urine, feces, and sweat.” When she dies, she wants the mushrooms to devour her and remediate the industrial toxins in the soil where she’s buried. She wears a fungus suit covered in her lee-phaghic buddies so that they can be close to her. It’s all about death; Lee calls it “decompiculture.”
The first prototype of the Infinity Burial Suit is a body suit embroidered with thread infused with mushroom spores. The embroidery pattern resembles the dendritic growth of mushroom mycelium. The Suit is accompanied by an Alternative Embalming Fluid, a liquid spore slurry, and Decompiculture Makeup, a two-part makeup consisting of a mixture of dry mineral makeup and dried mushroom spores and a separate liquid culture medium. Combining the two parts and applying them to the body activates the mushroom spores to develop and grow.
Warey Myers designed this installation for the new offices of Portland’s VIA Advertising Agency, which are in the Baxter Building, home to the Portland Public Library from 1888-1960: “Books breaking through the (faux) wall downstairs, referencing the “basement stacks” every library has. In this case it’s as if those stacks had been sealed up during some remodel, and are anthropomorphically breaking through, referencing the old library, history, roots, poltergeists…”
On The Awl, an engrossing musical history of “Try a Little Tenderness,” which started life in 1932 as a schmaltzy, vacuous love-song recorded by Ray Noble and his Orchestra. Gradually, over the decades, new singers reinterpreted it, gradually giving it soul in dribs and drabs, leading up to the classic Otis Redding recording (and the regrettable Jay-Z reinterpretation).
As nice a story as it’d make, Otis Redding didn’t transform “Try A Little Tenderness” from campy relic to anthem in a single stroke. The process was more gradual, maybe more compromised. Bing Crosby took a go at “Tenderness” in 1933, and in the process injected some humanity into it. No less paternalistic, his interpretation stressed the duties of manhood, the weakness of women, and how love was about being strong by pretending to be vulnerable. Maybe that’s a little too much psychodrama to pull from a performance that, for all Crosby’s sly phrasing and attempts at straight talk, is still relatively light fare. But it was enough for “Tenderness” to catch on as a minor standard, an especially useful one to have in the songbook for black entertainers looking to cross over in the ’50s and early ’60s and perform at “classy joints.” Selling records to white kids was one thing; eons before anyone thought to let youth guide the industry, appealing to white adults was the real meal ticket.